Human factors issues in firearms design and training

March 06, 2006

SANTA MONICA, CA - Guns are tools. Like any other tools, they can be either good or poor at achieving their purpose. In an article published in the Winter 2005 issue of Ergonomics in Design entitled "Human Factors Issues in Firearms Design and Training," the authors look at the design and operation of firearms from a human factors perspective. Observations on standardization and the prevention of inadvertent use highlight some important ways in which the human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) community can contribute to the production of safe and effective future firearms.

Some of the problems identified by authors Peter Hancock, Hal Hendrick, Richard Hornick and Paul Paradis include the following: What can HF/E professionals do to make future firearms safer? In terms of design, HF/E research can help to determine a recommended standardized design for safeties and cylinder releases. Perhaps there should also be different standards for firearms design for different purposes, such as home defense versus law enforcement. One promising area is the "smart gun," which would recognize and be operable only by the owner, and HF/E input would be a valuable addition to design work in this area. Unfortunately, because of the long life span of firearms (collectors may own century-old guns), it could take decades for any design improvements to be effective.

"If one cannot change the tool to have an immediate effect on firearms safety," the authors say, " is possible to promote safer use through training and familiarization." Many accidents happen among users who either never took a safety course or had not had any training for many years - not to mention the sometimes questionable content of such courses. By addressing the issue of use under stress, fundamental principles of pistol marksmanship, and exposure to more than one type of firearm before a user is considered qualified, training could be more effective.

To obtain a press copy of the full article, please contact HFES Communications Director Lois Smith (310/394-1811).
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is a multidisciplinary professional association of more than 4500 persons in the United States and throughout the world. Its members include psychologists, engineers, designers, and scientists, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Related Firearms Articles from Brightsurf:

68% of deaths from firearms are from self-harm, majority in older men in rural regions
A new study of gun injuries and deaths in Ontario found that 68% of firearm-related deaths were from self-harm, and they most often occurred in older men living in rural regions, pointing to the need for targeted prevention efforts.

Age restrictions for handguns make little difference in homicides
In the United States, individual state laws barring 18- to 20-year-olds from buying or possessing a handgun make little difference in the rate of homicides involving a gun by people in that age group, a new University of Washington study has found.

New study calculates alarming lifetime risk of death from firearms and drug overdoses in the US
A new study appearing in The American Journal of Medicine, published by Elsevier, calculates the lifetime risk of death from firearms and drug overdoses in the United States.

Research finds TSA may have missed thousands of firearms at checkpoints in 2016-2018
CATONSVILLE, MD, August 11, 2020 - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported that it found 4,432 firearms in carry-on baggage at airport security checkpoints in 2019, and more than 20,000 firearms since 2014.

Study of US mass shootings, firearms homicides suggests two-pronged policy approach
A new study examined the impact of household gun ownership and concealed carry legislation on annual counts of mass shootings and homicides from firearms in the United States over the last 25 years.

Raising legal age for handgun sales to 21 linked to fewer adolescent suicides
Restricting the sale of handguns to those aged 21 or older is associated with a reduction in suicide rates among adolescents in the United States, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Rural firearm-suicides impacted by socioeconomic, environmental factors
In an attempt to address the escalating rate of self-inflicted firearm injury deaths in rural America, researchers are proposing interventions to reduce these suicides be community-based and include programs to reduce other diseases of despair, such as heart and liver diseases, diabetes and accidental opioid overdose.

Research raises concerns about firearm access for people with dementia
Today, new research released from faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus looked at how caregivers address the issues of firearm safety when taking care of someone who has Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and has access to a gun.

Military personnel at risk of suicide store firearms unsafely
Military personnel who are at a greater risk of suicide are more likely to unsafely store firearms in unlocked cabinets where they can access them easily, according to a Rutgers researcher.

Majority of US states and territories do not require day care providers to inform parents of firearms
Home- and center-based child care providers are not required by most states or U.S. territories to inform parents when guns are stored on the premises, according to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Read More: Firearms News and Firearms Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to